Friday, June 29, 2012

Chinese books i love

I am very pleased that we have advanced in our chinese reading. We have been reading books with more words and longer paragraphs.
I am falling in love with the langauge, it has far more depth than English. I don't buy English books, i'd rather borrow. Strangely, i rather buy & keep chinese books. Like i said, i think the language is far more beautiful that the English language that it is worth hording my house with it!

So here are some good read that i would like to recommend & own:

This is a set of 15 books. I like this series because it comes with DVD showcasing all the stories in the set. The books are rather wordy so in order to keep sonshine interested, i sometimes would let him watch the DVD first then follow up with the book. Or sometimes the other way around. The great thing is that you can choose to watch the show either in English or Mandarin.

This series is originated from a a Japanese author. I love the humourous storyline! I think i bought it more for my pleasure! But i also think it is great for sonshine because the words are fairly simple and it gets repeated. I love this series so much that i bought both volume 1 AND 2! This is definately a keeper!


This is one of the better moral value books i have come across. Each book speaks about a certain value i.e manners, compassion etc. It gives detailed scenarios and what are the aceptable behaviours. I only found out that this series was translated from English- otherwise i would have purchase the English version because i find myself translating each and every sentence as i read to sonshine! Nonetheless, these are great books imparting great values to the child.

We have more books! I may add them on in another post. :)

I don't have time to make a trip downtown to get the books. So my purchases are mostly made online & I buy mainly from these sources:

Monday, June 25, 2012

June Holiday: English lessons

Over the school holidays, we did a few spelling activity and some English related lessons.

I took out our Melissa & Doug's spelling kit and let sonshine have a go (it was getting dusty!). Sonshine matched the letters to each board and wrote each word three times on his book. He learnt to spell a couple of words, thanks to this activity.

I also made him learn the spelling of some action words.

Our spelling lessons were too haphazard that i found a need to find some structure. I decided to go with Montessori's Movable Alphabet and use of phonograms. Yes, i said before i am not a fan of phonics. I am still not a fan. But i reckon that it would easier for sonshine to learn to spell if we follow phonogram by phonogram.

Nothing beats owning the original Montessori Moveable alphabet. I did think of buying it but the thought of storing yet another bulky educational kit was too much for me to take. Hence, i DIY my own. This one is much more storage friendly!

Our first structured lesson begins with 'ai'. He successfully learnt to spell words that has 'ai' in them including, 'train', 'pain', 'paint', 'wait' etc.

It turns out that the structured lesson didn't help sonshine learn his spelling any better. He is accepting of either way, a random list of words or words with the same phonograms. The good thing about him is that it doesn't take much for him to remember & retain the words he learnt. So i conclude the structured lesson is more for me! LOL.

As with Montessori's lesson, i also created a mini book.

This particular book contains words that has 'ai' in them.

We also played with Junior scrabble during the school holidays. I found it way too boring but sonshine had loads of fun.

One of the books sonshine loves to borrow from the library is a book on Homophones. After reading book after book on homophones, i decided to let him have a go at a worksheet printed from here.

June Art

We drew!

We followed a step by step application on the ipad. It was very easy!

Sonshine's version.


Sonshine's cat (after adding some color; i helped him use a marker to outline his drawing too).
Maybe i am bias, but i much prefer his coloring than mine. I realised i was limited by my knowledge (i.e there's no such thing as a blue cat much less a blue headed cat with red body and yellow legs!) that i chose one color for my cat. Sonshine on the other hand, unlimited in his creativity, chose to use blue, red and yellow for his cat. Looks much more vibrant and attractive than my boring color! You want creativity? Look at your chidren's choice of colors!

He also learnt to draw a train. Again, i just love his choice of color combination!

Dinosaur! Looks poisonous!

*woof* Love love his color choices!

Can you guess what this is?

It's an army tanker. Check out the soldier!

There was once a time when sonshine was so averse to holding a pencil, let alone draw. But today, he does not hesistate to pick a pencil and even enjoyed our drawing sessions. So awesome! No one can be more pleased than me! I love to draw and an art teacher once said i was quite a cartoonist. Hope the son will pick up the love of drawing like i did. :)

l'l sister cannot resist joining in the fun! Or rather she was too jealous to let me have some alone time with big brother at the table!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


So go ahead, laugh at me.

I have succumbed to the traps of the rat race.

I signed the boy up for chinese supplementary classes (no, it is not Berries) something i truly regret. (I may even withdraw him after this term! ha!).

I do not know how other parents do it but i suffered from alot of guilt, regret, remorse after i paid the fee! I feel so sorry for the boy like as if i was really, robbing him of his childhood!

Why did i do it then?

1) Sonshine's mandarin teacher at school has no time/chance to truly assess and understand sonshine's learning ability. Each time i see her, she will rant about how big the class is and it is impossible for her to go from student to student and individually teach them. This, i fault her not. And this, is the reason why i dislike the regular education system. The teacher-student ratio is too wide. Kids like my son, who is so quiet, will get neglected & overlooked. This was evident when she incorrectly told me during the teacher-parent meet that sonshine does not understand mandarin.

2) I was looking through his term 1 work and while i can somewhat keep up with the curriculum for now but i know i would not be able to keep up in the long run. I could hold off the extra class now since at this moment, he really has no problem with mandarin. But, i feel that if i send him of later, we would be playing catch up. So, i took on the typical Singaporean sydnrome and decided to take a step ahead.

Which school is it? I am not telling! But i can tell you why i chose this school

1) Low teacher-student ratio. The maximum students they accept in the class is 8. That, i like! It allows the teacher to cater her attention to each students.

2) Their Kindergarden curriculum incorporates oral skills and building sentence structure. Honestly, i didn't do alot of research, i don't know what other centers are teaching. But i compared to another school (its next door neighbour), i felt that the other school was too slow, it focuses more on word recognition. So, i thought this school's curriculum was the 'better' one since it includes activities like question and answer, learning to form proper sentences in mandarin.

The first lesson went well. For one, sonshine happily skipped to school. He was really looking forward to it! Secondly, unlike his school teacher, the center teacher was able to tell me his strengths and weaknesses accurately despite only seeing him for the first time. She was surprised by sonshine's ability to read all of the passage shown in class that day. She was even more surprised that he could read a rhyme that she only read once or twice but didn't require the kids to remember the words (i think its because he already knows all the words). But I was most pleased when she told me his pronunciation was accurate because i thought otherwise LOL! I was also pleased that he was able to understand and answer the two simple questions assigned that day.

After the first lesson, i am thinking of withdrawing him already! But we will have to see, there must be some value add otherwise there is really no need to send him for extra class to learn things he already knows and i am already whining about sacrificing my Saturday mornings!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'Homeschool' for babydoll

Here are some mini activities the girl has been entertained with. Mainly to exercise her eye-hand coordination & fine motor skills.

Transferring clips into an empty milk bottle. The mouth of the bottle is rather small which is makes it tricky. So babydoll had to tilt each clip upright in order to slot them in. She surprised me with this one, she did it with much ease.

I slit a tiny 'coin' slot on an empty carton box and gave the girl some toy coins to insert them into the box. Again, i thought this might be a little challenging for her age but i was proven wrong again. It was too easy for her that she got a little bored with this activity very soon after.

She was more delighted to find the coins in the box and would much rather i let her play with the box opened!

I was busy playing Monopoly with the boy & didn't pay much attention to her. I left her with a box of sweets and when i checked on her, she somehow managed to find another box & decided to transfer the sweets from box to box! This kept her entertained for quite a bit! It once again tells me that sometimes we really don't need to prepare loads & loads of activities for the toddler- they are curious enough to create their own, meaningful ones too!

AH! The milk bottle again! This time it made it's appearance with colorful poms poms!

Little sister hard at work, transferring each pom pom into the milk bottle.

I LOVE the Ikea stacking cups! I bought it for sonshine and took them out again for the girl. It is such a cheap & simple toy; even the boy is intrigued by it- still! (Ok, this has nothing to do with the is there for visual pleasure).

I stacked the cups up and let babydoll push them down. She also helped me stacked the cups- great for her eye-hand coordination & fine motor skills!

All in all, i am delightfully surprise by her (fine & gross) motor skills. She is definitely way, way much, much, faster than her brother was. I remember i was pretty frustrated watching him do fine motor skills related activities- thank God that's all over!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Time for change

Sonshine will be attending Primary school in 2 years time. So we thought it was time to teach him about change- money wise that is. I mean, he would need to buy his own meal at recess right? He needs to learn how to pay and check for change, if needed.

I didn't have a grand plan on how i wanted to teach him, i simply grabbed a few coins and the toy cash register we have. I first handed him $0.50 and said that we were going to play. He wanted to 'buy' a cup of corn and i said it would cost him $0.30. I asked if he had enough money, he checked, yes. He handed me his $0.50 and i asked if it was too much or too little or just the right amount. He acknowledged that it was too much. So i explained to him that means i would have to return to him the extra, that is $0.20 and told him how i got that amount.

With that, he took off and i didn't need to explain any further.

Subsequently, i 'tested' him and asked if i was to buy something that cost $4.10 and if i gave $5.50, how much change did i get back? He was quick to give me the answer, $1.40.

To raise the bar, i also asked him if a train cost $0.50 and i buy 5 trains, how much would it cost me in total? $2.50 was his swift reply.

Well, i guess that means i wouldn't have him coming home with less money than he should, right? :P

Monday, June 4, 2012

Learning Mandarin the fun way

Last week, i taught sonshine all about the 围部, well not all. But some of the words with the 围部. I thought it was an effective way to help recognise and write the words.

First, i used the mandarin kit i bought. I showed him what 围部 was.

I took out some words that are made of the symbol.

As we swop the interchangeable dominoes, i read the words out to him and explain the meaning of each words.

He learnt how to write each word on the ipad. I first write and say out the strokes as i write. He followed suit.

When i am certain that he knows the meaning/usage & strokes of each word, i have him revised the words by completing the mini exercise. (hahaha, i just realised you can't really tell which is my handwriting and which is his! Just goes to show how childish my handwriting is!)

Post note: words that he learnt 国,圆,园

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